Search intent and Google Features go hand in hand to make the user experience smoother and more accessible while also helping you to make your website content better, more likely to rank and a more valuable fount of information for your visitors.
This article will guide you through the myriad of Google Features and how they’re used and give you tips on how you can utilize Google Features in your content marketing.
Learning About Search Intent
Before we get into Google Features, it’s important to get refreshed on the specifics of search intent.
This essentially defines what the user’s goal is when they input a query into Google that Google’s algorithm can then use to determine what the best information would be for the user.
There are five different forms of search intent that can help you pick what you want to rank for, allowing you to craft your content more succinctly.
1. Informational Search Intent
Informational search intent is the most common, involving the users simply searching for – you guessed it – information on a particular subject to help them learn more about it.
2. Commercial Investigation Search Intent
The user may not know what they want to buy yet so they are investigating the product or service first. This will involve a lot of finding reviews or products to compare to each other.
3. Transactional Search Intent
Transactional is another common type of search intent as well, especially with the increasing rise of e-commerce sites. This is often the next stage following commercial investigation. The user knows what they want and now they are searching a specific product or online shop so they can buy it.
4. Navigational Search Intent
The need to search for an online shop for a product as detailed above leads nicely into the next type of search intent. Navigational searches are for when users know exactly where they want to go but instead of typing it in the URL bar and cutting out the middle man, they’re going through Google to get there. This includes typing in things like ‘Amazon’ or ‘ASOS’.
5. Location-Based Search Intent
This last type of search intent is for those users who want to find something in a physical location. It’s important for these queries to be specific so the SERP delivers geographically accurate information that suits the user’s needs. For example, if you’re searching for a fast food chain to visit while driving to a holiday destination in the UK, you’re not going to want details about American-based restaurants to crop up.
Getting to Know Google Features
Now you’ve had a brush up on search intent, it’s time to see how that fits in with Google Features and how they can be used to enhance content and make the user journey that much more fulfilling.
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The featured snippet is perhaps the most coveted position on a Google SERP. They are situated at the very top of the first page and are often the one stop shop for people quickly searching for information on a topic. It is often a little paragraph that answers their query as perfectly as possible and proves itself the most powerful and valuable source on that subject.
The format of the featured snippet does depend on the type of query though. While paragraph snippets are the most common, numbered snippets can be used to denote steps in a how-to format, bullet snippets condense an article into manageable chunks and table and YouTube snippets provide visual aid for queries best answered by a graph or video.
To get the featured snippet position, just make sure your content is the best answer for the search intent and query you’re targeting, being more thorough and informational than your competitors.
To achieve this read the web page featured in the snippet and make a note of everything they are doing and everything they aren’t doing. Use this to enhance your own writing, including things like jump links at the beginning so users can navigate to specific parts of the article and making sure the information isn’t blocked by pay walls or subscription requests.
People Also Ask
People Also Ask is another of the prevalent features that appears on pretty much every SERP. It consists of a seemingly inexhaustible series of clickable questions that give you extra information you may be interested in based on your query.
This shares similarities with Related Searches as they both give you suggestions on more information based on universal searches, as well as similarities with Featured Snippets as clicking on questions gives you the same kind of featured snippet format.
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The People Also Ask feature is a great way for you as a business to get a clear and more immersive sense into the kinds of things your target audience is searching for. Use the column to enhance your research and find the best way to frame your content around a question.
Make good use of bullet points as well as these help make your content a more appealing option for featured snippets as these are what appear in People Also Ask.
You have to scroll all the way to the bottom of the SERP to find this next regular feature, working in a similar way to People Also Ask except it provides you with other search topics you may find useful.
This feature can sometimes be accompanied by a visual aid depending on what was searched for and encourages people to click through to learn more about the topic they originally typed in.
This is a great way for you to put yourself in the user’s position and consider the types of things they’re looking for when they input a query. Make sure you rank for the most relevant query and optimize your image usage. If the related searches for your topic throws up an image carousel, it’s important for your images to be important so that your content is featured in multiple ways and emphasises your importance.
Another big feature that helps you to understand your target audience on a deeper level is the Audience Reviews.
Users have the opportunity to leave a review on products and services, expressing their opinions and giving other users information that can help them in their search journey.
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This can tell you a lot about the prospective visitor to your website and what they’re searching for. The audience is the most important part of the process and learning more about them can make optimizing your content for search intent so much easier.
These reviews can help you find the best keywords for your own site to increase your relevance and proves to the user that you listen to them and are always working to provide the best experience for them, building trust in your business.
Search intent can seem daunting what with the sense of needing to predict what each individual user is looking for but Google Features provides an excellent template in increasing the understanding between you and your audience, making search intent easier to pin down and helping you to become the important and reliable source of information that every business wants to be.